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Stephen van Beek <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 1 Aug 2001 09:08:00 -0400
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Tim Bray wonders who reads the Cantos, and how hermetic and weird one must
be as a formal prerequisite.

Most of my friends would tell you that I am fit to read the Cantos but I
have other reasons than they do.

I was brought up in the idea that one must read very widely and long to do a
fine poet justice.

We 'did' three or four of the Cantos in my Honours curriculum back in the
60's, but I realized that I lacked the background to really read them well.

Thirty-five years later, and after a steady habit of reading other writers,
I have returned to Pound to attempt to capture his essence.

So far I have read and reread the first cycle several times, and am keeping
the Cantos-which I bought about ten years ago- right beside me on the sofa.
I have spent about three years doing so and think another two will suffice.

I do believe nobody should read Pound who has not spent some serious time
with Homer and Dante, at the very least. That's a three year project at the
least, because their impact is so wide and so deep.

Not the number of copies shipped but how we read the canto to which we have
some poetic attunement is of course the real issue.


Stephen van Beek